12 November 2008

POPULAR BLOGGER RELEASED


IFEX members welcome the release of blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, who had been detained for nearly two months under Malaysia's draconian Internal Security Act (ISA).

A high court judge ordered his immediate release, saying that his detention was illegal and that the Home Minister had acted beyond his authority when he doled out the two-year jail sentence.

Raja Petra, a staunch government critic on his website "Malaysia Today", was arrested on 12 September under the ISA. He was later given a two-year jail sentence on the grounds that his political writings "ridiculed Islam" and represented a potential security threat by stirring ethnic tensions.

Malaysia's ISA allows for the detention without trial for two years, with indefinite extensions possible at the discretion of the Home Minister.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Raja Petra had been held in solitary confinement at Kamunting, a detention centre near Taiping in northern Perak state. His wife, Marina Lee, and colleagues kept "Malaysia Today" running while he was in detention.

Lee told Reporters Without Borders (RSF), "I cannot find the words to express my joy. I am eternally grateful to RSF for its support. We are going to continue fighting for the ISA's repeal, so that this law can no longer be used against my husband or anyone else."

The blogger still faces sedition and defamation charges for posting reports that linked Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife to the murder of a Mongolian woman. The Writers in Prison Committee (WIPC) of International PEN continues to call for these charges to be dropped. Messages of support can be sent to Raja Petra via his email at: labisman (@) yahoo.com

Malaysia continues to crack down on dissent. On 9 November riot police broke up a peaceful protest of demonstrators celebrating Raja Petra's release and the anniversary of free and fair elections, report the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) in Malaysia and RSF. Two journalists and a blogger were among two dozen people arrested and released the following day.

"The continuous use of force against people expressing their views on issues... is a demonstration of the intolerance for public criticism of the status quo," said CIJ.

Visit these links:
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=29214- CPJ: http://tinyurl.com/5qseaw- IFJ: http://tinyurl.com/5a8t9m- WiPC: http://tinyurl.com/5du85m- RSF on rally: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98394/- SEAPA and CIJ on rally: http://www.cijmalaysia.org/(12 November 2008)



Malaysia

IFEX members working in this country 1

 
More from Malaysia
  • Freedom on the Net 2017: Malaysia

    Several websites remain blocked for reporting on a billion dollar corruption scandal implicating Prime Minister Najib Razak, including the publishing platform Medium

  • Malaysia HRW Report: Events of 2016

    Malaysia's human rights situation continued to deteriorate in 2016, with human rights defenders, activists, political opposition figures, and journalists facing harassment and politically motivated prosecution. Those criticising the administration of Prime Minister Najib Razak or commenting on the government's handling of the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) corruption scandal have been particular targets.

  • Freedom of the Press 2016: Malaysia

    Reporting on the alleged misuse of the 1MDB state investment fund sparked criminal defamation proceedings against at least four news outlets, and two others were temporarily suspended.

 
More from Asia & Pacific
  • TRUTH VS MISINFORMATION: THE COLLECTIVE PUSH BACK

    SOUTH ASIA PRESS FREEDOM REPORT 2018-2019

  • The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14

    Journalism in South Asia is far from an easy profession, as the 12th annual review of journalism in the region "The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14" portrays. But this year's report also tells the story of the courage of South Asia's journalists to defend press freedom and to ensure citizens' right to information and freedom of expression in the face of increasing challenges to the profession and personal safety.

  • THE STORIES WOMEN JOURNALISTS TELL: Women in Media in South Asia

    The report is the first created by the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) looking specifically at the experience of women journalists in the South Asia sub-region